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Finding & Developing New Leaders

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finding and developing new leadersOne of today’s biggest challenges is finding the right people to take on the challenge of leading your organization, and then helping them develop the skills they’ll need to move the company forward. Read this article to learn more about finding and developing new leaders. 

Finding And Developing New Leaders: Myths That Stand In Our Way

Myth #1: Leadership is what executives and senior managers do. Actually, leadership exists — both good and bad — at all levels, and it’s happening moment-by-moment.

Myth #2: Great leaders and the people who study them portray an accurate picture about what made them great. More often, their stories reflect the influences of cultural bias.

Good Leadership Depends On Your View Of Results

One view might be the more traditional, linear model that senior leaders first develop a vision, get everyone aligned behind it and then the team executes according to the plan. (See Straw, J., Scullard, M, Kukkonen, S. & Davis, B., The Work Of Leaders, Wiley (2013)). You can almost picture the “ideal manager” in this scenario described as Disciplined, Organized, Planned and Controlled.

Another might be represented by the Build – Measure – Learn model from The Lean Startup (Ries, E., The Lean Startup, Crown Business (2011)). The valued descriptors here might be Experimental, Curious, Versatile and Adaptable.

Which one is right? The answer is: Both.

Leadership requires being versatile enough to be open to experimentation and learning to see what customers really will love and buy, while being disciplined enough to build and manage a sustainable organization to support those kinds of products and services.

3 Skills Required Of Emerging Managers

  • Organizational Smarts like having the Big Picture, showing loyalty to the Company, looking beyond defined roles and taking responsibility for outcomes.
  • Work Smarts that include being dependable, eager, creative. a resourceful problem- solver and a relentless communicator.
  • People Smarts such as displaying compassion and empathy, being a good listener, seeking commitment rather than pushing for “buy-in,” able to build strong connections and having a sense of humor.

Where Do You Find These Qualities?

You’ll see signs of what you’re looking for in those who show informal thought leadership in everyday interactions, the people who volunteer to help others get their work done, the ones giving credit to others, the team members who tend to pay attention to the “small stuff.”And it can’t stop there. Once you’ve identified the people you want to invest in, you have to find ways to help them develop higher-level skills like imagining products customers will love and buy, planning but not getting bogged down in “the Plan,” having the knowledge and curiosity to learn, and to incorporate learnings quickly into ongoing project work and becoming experts at matching the particular skills of associates with work assignments.

How Can You Help Them Acquire These Skills?

First, you can incorporate Performance Management into everyday project plans to turn the development of specific competencies like decision-making, conflict resolution and team building into real planned deliverables, right along with the other organizational objectives.
Another way is to make sure promotions are seen as the company’s invitation to take on added responsibility rather that a reward for past results, and that they don’t end up painting a target on the back of the very person you want to encourage.

Excellent leadership these days requires lots of different skills and habits. To find the right people, you have to pay very close attention to what is going on in your industry, deep inside your organization as well as in the world outside. Then you have to put them in the right situations to develop the skills they’ll need.

This is a guest post written by Mike Shapiro

Mike’s mission is to give clients new ways to think about their businesses, help them find new pathways to key strategic decisions, sharpen their communications with clients and prospects, and give them action ideas they can implement right away without making big, disruptive and costly changes in their organization.

He’s active in both coaching and consulting — coaching to increase a client’s own personal capability in an area, and consulting to bring his expertise to help solve a business problem or address a business opportunity.

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